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A Taiwan military honor guard marches during National Day celebrations, Taipei, Taiwan, Oct. 10, 2016 (AP photo by Chiang Ying-ying).

Have Taiwan’s Identity Politics Outgrown the One China Myth?

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Taiwan is like no other place on Earth. That’s not a line from a promotional video or tourist brochure. It’s a simple fact of history, politics and international relations. Taiwan, with its population of nearly 24 million, is a vibrant liberal democracy and a major node in global value chains. Without components designed in Taiwan and produced in Taiwanese-managed factories in China and Southeast Asia, many of the devices people use every day simply wouldn’t work. Taiwan is an indispensable part of 21st-century life.

But it is not a member of the United Nations and only has diplomatic relations with a motley collection of mostly poor countries that rely on it for foreign aid. The country has no official military alliances, though the United States Congress statutorily required Washington to sell Taipei the weapons it needs for self-defense after the U.S formally switched its diplomatic recognition to the People’s Republic of China in 1979. Taiwan is excluded from all of the world’s major intergovernmental organizations or relegated to “observer” status. Many outsiders and even international relations experts simply assume that the country will ultimately reintegrate with China. ...

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